Saturday, April 9, 2011

eat, pray, love.

I love to occupy the mind while going through my to do list. Usually I carry the laptop around with me and listen to music, watch a movie or catch up on sermons missed. Today I sit in my green sewing room and stitch by stitch I am creating a beautiful quilt for a wedding present. The noise in the background is Eat, Pray, Love. I read the book one summer while lounging by the pool but didn't get a chance to catch the movie when it recently fell somewhat flat in the theaters. Everyone I have talked to about it said – I didn't like it, it was boring, or the most popular why did she have to leave her husband to find life...

And I feel the same about the last response. I am sitting here listening to the dialog and occasionally watching the screen and I find myself wondering how she did it. How this independent, courageous and selfish woman left everything she knew in a search to find herself. There is a part of me that says it is foolishness. Why leave all that you have crafted and hoped for, all that you have built and worked towards to “find yourself” why waste all that time and energy to start over again, why do we build only to destroy?

There is another part of me that gets it. I feel the desire she explains when longing for something more than the box she has created for herself. I get the reckless abandon that it takes to walk away from our American Dream in pursuit of real life. I ache with the need to explore, to create, to grow and to really live. Don't you feel it? Are you who you want to be? Is that something that is even attainable? Are we supposed to, as Christians, ever be satisfied on this earth? Where is the happy medium that leaves us feeling successful and alive but also leaves us longing for what is next?

What does it make you feel? Do you start to ask big questions about what you have created and then figure out solutions to overcome the ways you have settled? Do you rest in the contentment of you life without a longing or desire to see it change? Do you run away from the adventure of the hunt to find our who you really are? What does it look like to embrace the life you have and then find who you are in the arms that surround you?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

winters last stand.

“lets walk, i need to tire out this over ambitious lab out”

so we walked.  my mother and I, side by side, as it was meant to be.  we talk about life and work and ups and downs, trying not to dwell on the problems or to have a heart of complaining but rather, as we are on this journey to find joy, that we will have grateful hearts.  How could we fail to not even recognize this moment as a moment of great joy - two women walking through gods beautiful creation, a mother and daughter journeying with each other finding the extraordinary in the daily.  

it is the warmest day we have had since winter broke.  as thermostats all over west michigan boast of 68 a warm wind blows and ushers in new life.  Spring is almost here, the snow is melting into the soon to be green fields and life will come again.

my toes feel moisture seeping through my socks and I hear the gently crunch beneath me as we step into the woods.  snow lingers here.  in the shaded protection of the lofty trees it waits to say its final goodbye.  a chill runs over me, the temperature has dropped on our path, where the snow sits in protest, the cold of winter still lingers.  I say something so obvious as - oh it is colder here - but my thoughts don’t leave that moment...

in the shaded, dark areas of our hearts we often let snow linger.  we hold onto our broken and wounded spirits, we hide our falsely justified anger, and we hold our fear white knuckled.  generations have carried the same burdens and have passed down to each of us the perfect recipe to let the burden simmer for another lifetime, perfect the process and pass it down again.  in the shadows, in the places where we have built walls to hide our sacred downfall we push God out.  We don’t allow the warmth of His grace usher in change, we don’t let his unmatchable love loosen the binds that hold us to our past - instead we hide.  Afraid of change, afraid of freedom, not willing to loose control and let love replace brokenness.  

1st Peter 1v18
For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to your from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.

we know the ending.  we know the snow will melt and things will grow.  grass will cover the earth in a blanket of green, flowers will bloom and paint a masterpiece everywhere the eye can see.  He trades beauty for ashes....even still we cling to the ashes.

lord, help me break the cycle. 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

morning light....

i open my bible and papers from years gone by spill out.  weekly announcements from churches visited over the last few years, notes taken in haste as to not forget the knowledge being poured out to eager ears, a silly note from my sister that i am so glad i kept.  

the light is pouring through the window.  it is the morning sunshine that welcomes a time of prayer and discovery.  with it comes warmth and comfort as i sink into the familiarity of this moment.  it is a moment of peace, a moment of complete clarity that yes rather than do a task or complete a list i long to come to this book and to this God and rest.  

and i have discovered that HE is meeting me there.  that for all of this time where i have been asking - where are you? why can’t i feel you? where are you guiding this tired soul? - i have been so wrong.  it is not Him who wasn’t there, however it is i that was afraid, unaware and sadly i didn’t think i needed that... i needed grace and i needed worship and i needed to be saved from an eternity in hell but my a la cart faith left me feeling selfish, distant and lacking.  

and now i sit morning after morning, capturing moments throughout the hustle and bustle of the day to pray, to be thankful, to find joy and something in me is awakening.  i have seen a new dawn, i have come to the throne and found my King waiting for me.  

how blessed am i...

Saturday, February 26, 2011

the beginning...

something in me sparked. something in me lacked. i was dry and thirsty and had no idea how to find a cup or how to operate the faucet. it began with a need for prayer. people in my life were hurting, they were asking, i was being held accountable to these prayers and i was letting people down. not that they knew it because i so nonchalantly threw around the phrase “i will pray for you.” it was a token, a passing thought to fill in the awkward space between news given and response needed. a default phrase that ate away at my heart each time i let the words pour off my lips. I will pray for you, I did pray for you, do you have any prayer requests....oh how it made me hurt and ache. i didn’t even know how to begin to pray, my laundry list of prayers, sickness, regrets, a little gratitude always felt fake and insincere. i wanted to be the girl on her knees, crying out to her father seeking guidance and protection in a broken world. but instead i found myself sitting with my list and with lips that wouldn’t move, frozen before the King of my heart not knowing how to mutter a word.

then i asked for help. and she responded enthusiastically with hard questions and accountability.

the questions came..

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

getting to know her.

this whole writing process is a search for honesty. for me to rise to the occasion and learn more about me. if i take the time to sit down at this computer then i really am taking a step away from my life and changing perspectives. i am now looking at sarah rather than looking through her. i am forcing myself to be a critic, a friend and sounding board for hopes, dreams, fears and the big what if questions. what if you try and fail. what if you chase after something and find it still doesn’t complete you. what if my hopes and dreams wrestle up more fears than i care to put to rest. what if all of that is just an excuse.

it works.
my questions turn into thoughts, thoughts that keep me awake at night and thoughts that eventually push me to action.

the last couple months have been filled with me asking questions about my faith. my knowledge. my desire for growth. my passion. i don’t have any answers but by putting pen to page i am at least discovering more about me. something i haven’t taken the time to do in a while.

it is exciting. i think i like her.

Monday, February 21, 2011

rest. where do you hide?

The earth seems to be moaning under the weight of all this ice. As the wind blows the branches of our mighty oak tree creek and crack, I can hear the wind coming down the chimney howling and groaning with the cold. First the snow fell, hard and heavy, covering our green grass and dry roads making it look like winter again. Then the rain came and turned the snow to mush and as night ushered in everything turned to ice. We lost a large branch in the back yard, it broke with the added weight of drop after drop. As the list grows longer with school cancellations, churches being closed and businesses opening late it seems that West Michigan is once again waving its white flag of surrender to Mother Nature.

So here I sit in an unexpected day off. No work, hard to travel around town - just me and Lucy sitting in the living room while B sleeps in preparation for working tonight. I got up to make coffee and while reaching for a filter I noticed the cupboard was a mess of tupperware chaos, I was filled with angst that it must been cleaned and organized. I walked by a closet that I know is filled with unfolded towels, boxes of hidden treasures and a mess of hastily folded sheets - another area of my home hidden behind a door, out of sight out of mind. The list continues to grow - mop, scrub the bathroom, start a new “get my house out of the 1950s” project, laundry, organize, sort and add order to our life.

I sit down with my now brewed cup of coffee overwhelmed by my walk through our house. Why is it that when given the gift of rest, when told - don’t come in to work, stay home - I create a list. A do this, wash that, clean up, fix it list that haunts me. It whispers you are lazy, unproductive and will waste your day if you don’t do any of these things. I long to scream back “go back into your closet and behind your cupboard door! I don’t have to work work work - I deserve to rest!” But I don’t - usually I do. Two weeks ago we had a couple snow days, I took down wall paper in our pink tiled bathroom and painted it a more tolerable white. Idle moments are always filled with a task, a list or a job to do. I get anxious if the sink is full of dirty dishes, if the hamper is overflowing, if the bathroom sink has built up enough toothpaste and dust that it is no longer white.

I seem to be programmed with an override on my rest button. Growing up my dad was a do-er. Always productive, always active and always dragging us along. My sister and I worship rainy days. We still call each other when rain is pouring down and giggle at the welcomed day of being stuck inside. But now I seem to always come back to my to-do list. I hate that I may become like that branch in the yard. Broken under the weight of list after list, of task upon task. The branch that now lies in the yard will never again feel the warmth of the sun, it won’t experience the melt of winter into spring and the stretch of the growing season.

How do I surrender my list, my drive and my angst to enjoy the gift of rest? How can I seek out rest in a busy day or difficult schedule?

Genesis 2:2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.

Exodus 16:23 He said to them, “This is what the Lord commanded: tomorrow is to be a day of Sabbath rest, a holy sabbath to the Lord. So bake what you want to bake and boil what you want to boil. Save whatever is left and keep it until morning.”

Matthew 11:28 Come to me all who are weary and heavy burdened and I will give you rest.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh...

I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.

The gladness in my heart has been sucked out of me. Sorrow and anger have filled the beds that gladness and peace once curled up in. these feelings are not welcome in my place of peace. they do not have an invitation or a seat but it seems they work their way in along with being discouraged, overwhelmed and alone.

I am constantly be served with reminders that this is not our home. That these bodies are merely containers for our souls. We are meant to face things that make us long for perfection. Things that make us know there is a day coming with no hurting, no sickness and where we will walk as one with our Savior – living in a state of completion. No longing or questions of what is next. But where we will live in the present moment, never being able to fully absorb the glory and greatness of it all. And I will laugh and sing praise. oh how i long for the day.